Archive | December, 2012

The fury in fur.

9 Dec

All tourists complain. 

It has taken me a startling fourteen years to reach this rather obvious conclusion, but I think it has something to do with being thrown off balance, off their usual turf, not knowing where exactly they are or when or where precisely they are going. I suppose it’s fair. For me? Being in the hands of a competent trailblazer has the opposite effect. I worry less, in and of itself a remarkable prospect, and live in the moment leaving the planning to someone I’ll trust simply for the relief of being forced to trust someone and for a change.

I gave a tour Thursday from which I am still recovering. Seasoned travelers to hear them tell it, they certainly didn’t act it. They also had more wealth than my usual clientele, the women decked out in the fur of any number of dead carcasses. I boarded their bus to be met by their mysteriously beleaguered escort who refused my outstretched hand and then, not yet deterred but knowing they were Christian, deferred to the fictional War of Christmas and bellied a yule-filled “Merry Christmas, everyone!” to be met only by their deafening silence.

Less wealthy clients whine like hungry children, the editors in their heads, had they ever even had one, shut down and all kinds of puling nonsense bellows out of their colicky intestines with a freedom that smacks in the face of civilized society. “Where ARE we?” “How much longer?” “My feet hurt!”

The monied have a different and more disdainful approach. They complain past me, tossing off bitchy comments to the air, knowing I can hear them, but not specifically directed towards me. Had they any idea of my hearing deficit, they’d realize it a largely futile strategy. Except for the one woman, in mink, who stood at the exit of the 9/11 National Memorial and wondered aloud and particularly loudly, “It’s so cold. Why can’t the bus pick us up here?” 

I looked around at the ancient Dutch alleyway in Lower Manhattan on which we stood and hoped she would follow my stunned gaze. The physics of the natural world seem beyond someone whom I expect merely snaps her fingers and her oddest most ridiculous whim is catered to by a cadre of the willing who are able to summon the forces of string theory and make a forty-five foot motor coach magically appear on a road I can straddle with my outstretched legs.

As many of you know, for the next two days it has been raining relentlessly in NYC. I claim no supernatural abilities. Only a dark joy that that woman’s mink is in tatters and that as they prepare to leave in the morning, I can finally take that voodoo doll out of my shower.

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